Happy Friday and happy September, everyone! I can’t believe that summer is almost over, and fall is just around the corner. Not only is fall my favorite season, but it’s also one of my most productive writing seasons next to winter. Something about the crisp, cool air, colorful leaves, and longer nights fuel my creativity and my productivity.
I’m not going to lie; it’s been a challenge staying productive and motivated in the midst of a global pandemic – which is something I want to talk about briefly. I’m also going to talk about social media and share some tips for avoiding all that online drama. So, grab those beverages and let’s dive in.
Writing Under Quarantine
Many people assume that writers have been more productive and more creative since this pandemic started. And why wouldn’t they believe that? We’re spending more time at home and supposedly have more “free time” to work on our stories. And while for some writers that may be true, for others it’s the opposite. A lot of people have been shocked to learn that some writers haven’t written much or anything at all since this pandemic began in March.
And here’s the thing, writers are human. We have emotions like everyone else. We have obligations like everyone else and some of us are really struggling during this time. It’s not easy shutting the world out when it’s burning around you, no matter how much we want to or try to. It’s not easy getting into our characters’ headspaces while we’re busy worrying about our health, our family, our friends, our finances, and what the future may hold. It’s not easy to push aside our worries during this new normal, and for some this new normal has been a nightmare. So, as much as we’d like to shut the world out and live vicariously through our characters in their fictional worlds, it’s not always that simple. And for some it’s impossible.
Thankfully, my inspiration well hasn’t run dry. My characters are as chatty as ever and the Luna Cove world continues to expand. Now, that doesn’t mean I haven’t struggled, because I have. In fact, it’s been quite the bumpy rollercoaster ride. Some days, my anxiety takes over and I can’t get anything done. Other days, I’m so immersed in my fictional world that I lose track of time. Those are the days I love and those are the days I look forward to the most. It’s those days that make up for my anxiety-ridden days where I get nothing done. I hate not working on my book. I hate not writing. I hate not editing and I hate not revising. I feel so guilty and so useless on those days. So, I’ve been trying to find a way to ease my anxiety and increase my productivity. I started by limiting my daily news intake and I also started limiting my time online.
While social media is a great way to connect with others and keep in touch with family and friends, it can also be taxing on your emotional and mental health. Let’s face it, there’s a ton of drama and negativity on social media these days. It’s why I limit my time online and unplug at least once a week. There are other things I do to try and keep my timelines as drama free as possible. And I’m going to share those tips with you.
One way to clean up your feed, is by muting people, hashtags, and words. Not a fan of sports? You can mute the words, hashtags, and anything associated with sports, which will help clean up your feed. If you’re a Twitter user, you can do this under your settings tab. You can also mute people. Muting is great when you don’t want to unfollow someone, but you’re tired of their content clogging up your timeline. You can always go back and unmute them at any point. Same with words and hashtags.
If you’re on Twitter, you can make a list of people you enjoy interacting with on a regular basis. Just go under your settings tab, name your list, and add the users you want. That way when you hop online, you can forego all the drama. Just click on your list and you can see what your favorite people are up to.
Much like real life, it’s important to set boundaries on social media. Your online space is yours; you get to decide how to utilize it. No is a complete sentence, it bears no explanation. You don’t need to go into detail or offer any further clarification if you don’t want to. And you shouldn’t feel forced to. So, don’t let anyone pressure you into doing something you don’t want. And don’t be afraid to speak up. We all have our lines and limits, make sure to set yours.
Sometimes muting and setting boundaries aren’t enough. Sometimes we need to make a fast and clean break from someone. Sometimes we find out that our friends really aren’t our friends, or that someone wasn’t who you thought they were. Or maybe we’ve stumbled upon a profile that’s filled with hateful, harmful, and negative rhetoric. Whatever the reason, if you no longer want someone in your personal online space, then hit that block button – especially, if you don’t feel safe around that person.
Unplugging from social media is a great way to detox digitally and give yourself a break. You can unplug however and whenever you want. Whether it’s for a couple of hours each day, or once a week, or more – it doesn’t matter. Do whatever works best for you, but do try to take breaks and practice some self-care.
Be careful in who you trust and confide in. Not everyone who claims to be your friend is one and not everyone is going to have your best interests at heart. Take your time when making friends online and use caution. Don’t just blindly follow people back. Look at their timelines before you follow them. Look closely at their content and posts. Look closely at their replies to others and their likes. Look for inconsistencies, contradictions, and red flags. If they appear to be less than honest, they probably are and it’s probably someone you want to avoid.
Also be weary of hashtag games or chains where they ask you for your personal information such as birthdays, occupation, location, and so forth. They may seem innocent enough, but not everyone’s motives are pure. You wouldn’t share that information with a stranger in real life, so why would you share it online for everyone to see?
Just remember that you don’t owe anyone an explanation for blocking or muting them. Your online space is YOURS. Use it how you want and make it safe and enjoyable for yourself.
That’s all I have for you today. Karina’s interview snippet is posted under the Extras tab if you want to check it out. Ryan’s interview snippet will be posted before the end of this month, so be on the lookout for that. The next character blog will be Marissa’s, which will be on Friday, September 25th. My next writing life blog will be on Friday, October 2nd. Until next time, stay safe and stay healthy.